Why do people have weight loss surgery?

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  • moxiecowgirl
    moxiecowgirl Posts: 291 Member
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    By the way, I can't speak for the entire population of everyone who's ever had weight loss surgery in the history of forever, but I can speak for myself. Everyone has their individual reasons, just like everyone who chooses other options has theirs. I can tell you from my own perspective that is was by no means an easy, flip decision, and I was never at any point under the delusion that it was a magic bullet that would make all the problems go away. It was simply another tool in my tool box. An extreme tool, yes, but it was another way to accelerate the undoing of the damage I had done to myself through years of not managing my diet or adopting healthy habits. I will cop to being a bit of a different story than the common opinion of weight loss surgery patients, in that I did extremely thorough research, sought and continued therapy for the mental component, and remained committed to the changes I made. A year and a half later, you couldn't pay me enough to go back to my old habits.

    I hate that the sensational stories are the ones that get the press when weight loss surgery is portrayed in the media. The world is full of simple success stories where the person who opted for surgery took the same approach that I did, but frankly, those stories are kinda boring to everyone but the person living them, so they aren't what gets publicized. I would respectfully ask people to consider this angle before making snap judgments as to the commitment level or mental status of everyone who has had or is considering the surgery.
  • luvsmefirefly
    luvsmefirefly Posts: 2 Member
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    I'm in the gym 5 days a week. I log every bite of food and monitor my nutrient intake. I was overweight or obese from 3rd grade on and if you think I didn't spend years following diets, exercising and seeing doctors you are very wrong. The surgery is a tool and no less work goes into my weight loss than anybody else's. The mental and physical changes I am making are forever or it won't work. I think too many patients are shoved through the process but like any surgery well chosen candidates who follow treatment plans succeed and for the long-term. I started a modified diet 3 months before to work on the psychological issues.

    and never was I at 200 calories a day... to follow treatment you have to eat so much protein via supplement that it's impossible to comply at that intake.

    My body pump instructor and the mirror have to disagree with the "impossible to build muscle" comment.
  • Missjulesdid
    Missjulesdid Posts: 1,444 Member
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    I've known many people who have had WLS including myself. It is really hard for me to see people with the attitude that you describes. It almost always indicates that the person will not be successful with the surgery. I had a friend who went to an all you can eat chicken place right before her bypass. Guess what? She had a VERY hard time sticking with her post surgery diet and before long was eating all of the wrong foods for weight loss. Last time I saw her she was nearly up to her original size and could eat a dozen chicken wings with bleu cheese dressing for a snack.

    I had another friend who had it and never learned to cook for himself, never embraced exercise and ate from McDonald's twice every day albeit in smaller portions, following his surgery. He has regained over 200 pounds.

    Fortunately there are many others who don't follow this pattern. I did a doctor supervised 800 calorie VLCD for 13 weeks prior to my surgery and stuck with it faithfully. Even BEFORE that I was eating healthily and exercising. On the day of my surgery I was down 70 pounds from my original weight. People ask me, "well if you could lose 70 pounds on your own then you obviously don't need surgery, so why go through with it" My answer is simple, I have lost 70 pounds and even more than that in the past and gain it all back. For me weight loss is like telling yourself you're only going to breathe four breaths each minute. You can do it.. For a while. If you put all your focus into it. I had constant nagging hunger. I felt like I was starving all the time. It was more than my willpower could conquer over the long haul.

    You want to call it an excuse, go ahead, I don't care. I know it was something I needed help with. So I got VSG surgery to remove my excessive hunger from the equation without affecting nutrient or calorie absorption. Now I can make a good meal choice and eat a few ounces of chicken, a bit of veg, and 1/4 of a potato and feel very satisfied. Before I'd eat a piece of chicken, a few servings of veg and I wouldn't feel satisfied without a heaping portion of starch.... and while I'd be eating it, I'd be thinking about my next meal. Now I just have hunger like a normal person and feel satisfied after eating a reasonable portion of food. It's a wonderful feeling not obsessing about food all the time and not having constant nagging hunger and urges to eat. I think I deserve this feeling. I'm happy with my decision. It's the best thing I've ever done for myself.

    Weight loss surgery will NOT make you magically lose and maintain your weight. If you approach it like it will, then you'll find yourself as somebody's anecdotal "I know someone who gained it all back and more" story. What weight loss surgery CAN be is an aid to help you stick with a calorie deficit so you can lose weight. It might reduce your hunger so you can more easily resist cravings. It will reduce the amount of food you need to eat to feel satisfied. It will not prevent you from snacking, drinking frozen milkshakes, eating gallons of cake frosting, overeating to the point of pain, drinking high calorie beverages etc.. It will not drive you to the gym or tie your workout shoes for you.
  • jazzie_red
    jazzie_red Posts: 180 Member
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    My saying is this: If it were easy to be skinny, everyone would be.

    But it's not. It's not easy to lose and it's hard to maintain.

    I want to lose 50 lbs, and that is a daunting task. I can't imagine needing to loose several hundred pounds. I think at that point, I would seek out the best options for my personal wieght loss. And if I felt the surgery would help for me, I would do it. It is an extremely personal decision that people make that they think would most benefit themselves.

    What works for one, does not work for all.
  • findingme58
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    I had the surgery in 2003. I have to put my two cents worth in here because there are some unkind and untrue statements being put out here. I had tried many times to lose - only to gain it back - much of it was emotional eating and yes, not exercising enough or eating healthily- however, the reasons for gaining and not being able to sustain weight loss are much more complicated than laziness or stupidity. Reasons for having gastric bypass are more complicated that wanting a quick fix. My process was nothing like what is being described by most comments here.

    Yes, I've gained back a lot of the weight. I didn't seek help because of extreme guilt that I was beyond help in emotional eating and having discipline to lose on my own efforts - I let long periods go by hating myself and thinking I was immune to the laws of weight loss. I was wrong. I am seriously sad for those who read these posts and feel the ridicule and lack of empathy for an all to common problem. Please don't critique the journey of others. Instead, let's encourage everyone to find the way back to health despite not so good choices--be it fad diets, lack of personal effort or drastic surgeries.
  • margannmks
    margannmks Posts: 424 Member
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    My friend had the sleeve over a year ago i was jealous at first cause she was losing like 5-10 lbs a week while i was busting my butt at gym and counting calories and was losing maybe a lb a month( i had already lost 20 lbs so i didnt have much to lose) she hasnt followed the nutrionist eating plan eats fast food and junk just smaller portions and hasnt lost anything in the last few months. Has done no exercise.So for having most of her stomach removed she lost 90 lbs in a year and still needs to lose 30-35 lbs to be at a healthy bmi.
  • woabighorse
    woabighorse Posts: 1 Member
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    :smile: some people try everything they can to loose weight. I have been over weight for 30 years or more. I'm 64 years old. I was a gymnast in high school, then a Vietnam veteran. Always active, worked hard but had to watch my weight. 14 years after Vietnam I joined the IL. National Guard. Mostly to help with weight control, and at the same time serve my country. After I retired exercise got harder and harder, weight got higher, apatite stronger. 392 pounds Nothing worked for me. You don't need any thing at all if you diet and exercise. When you have not the ability to do either successfully and you become morbidly obese , now this is called Disease. hypertension , diabetes , depression, anxiety sleep apnea, suicidal thoughts, all are linked to being obese . I got help, wished I did or could have 30 years ago. Bariatric surgery has come along way. I chose gastric bypass. It is a tool to help in weight loss . It is not easy it's still hard. you still need MFP. I saw 256lb on 8-23-14. Surgery date 7-9-13. If you can it is great even fun to work hard eat well and stay healthy . If you aren't successful don"t over look a great tool for becoming healthy and active.
  • Iwishyouwell
    Iwishyouwell Posts: 1,888 Member
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    For the same reason the majority of us here have, are in the midst of, or eventually will regain back the fat we lost. Long term statistics for weight loss and maintenance are abysmal across he boards, regardless of what method you used to lead.

    Most people who resort to WLS have been up and down the scale so many times and they turn to the surgery out of desperation, needing some tool that will help them. It can be very hard, and extremely humbling, for somebody to have failed so often at this endeavour as to say "left to my own devices, I can't do this".

    I too use to walk around with some false assumptions and judgements about the people who take this route. But contrary to what some ignorant people in this thread are implying, it's far, far from the "easy way out".

    And yes people regain. But, like I said, the odds are about 10:1 that you too will be joining them in their regaining.
  • Artionis
    Artionis Posts: 105 Member
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    This is a link to an article written by a doctor in Australia who counsels candidates for bariatric surgery. It is thought provoking in the best way. Read it for a candid glimpse of the issues of obesity and surgical "fixes" from the point of view inside the medical community.

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/march/1361848247/karen-hitchcock/fat-city

    Ponder this excerpt:

    "I ask a young 200-kilo patient what he snacks on. “Nothing,” he says. I look him in the eye. Nothing? He nods. I ask him about his chronic skin infections, his diabetes. He tears up: “I eat hot chips and fried dim sims and drink three bottles of Coke every afternoon. The truth is I’m addicted to eating. I’m addicted.” He punches his thigh.

    Addicted. The word is useless in my clinic, a mere barrier to any hope of self-determined change. My patient is not addicted; he’s a very lonely, unemployed young man who has gradually become socially isolated to the extent that the only thing available to him for comfort and entertainment is food. He has no friends, no money to buy other consumables, little education, no partner, no job. Some days he doesn’t leave his bed. The choice for him is to eat this food or experience no pleasure. The surgeon and I discuss his situation, concerned that he may overeat after the band has been fitted. We tell him that surgery may not be appropriate for him, given his situation. The patient is perturbed. “Well, what are you going to do for me if you won’t do the operation? Don’t you have some kind of ethical responsibility to help me lose weight?”"
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
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    Some can't lose the weight. Others don't want to.

    If you just don't want to, you have to lie. I have a super-giant, mega-obese friend who applied for the surgery, but when they asked her if she'd tried to lose, she said No. They told her her to go try. When she came back and said she thought about it, but ate, anyway, she got turned down.

    If you want the surgery, you must at least pretend to have dieted.

    Some do try and can't lose.

    I know this will turn into an, "I'm so awesome because I lost weight and everyone should be more like the awesomeness that is moi!" thread. I hope people who struggle and can't lose will not find this too disheartening and will take that for what it is - feeling of inadequacy cloaked in bragging, with a side of meanness.
  • icrushit
    icrushit Posts: 773 Member
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    I find it a fools errand to try understand why most people do what they do, lol. Outside of those for whom there is no alternative and a pressing medical need, I really don't know why anyone has or would have weight loss surgery. I also don't understand why some people have their lowest two ribs removed to give the appearance of a flatter stomach, but I should probably stop typing lest I appear highly judgemental, which is an unfortunate consequence of my Irish upbringing for which there exists no simple surgical solution, just a daily struggle, lol :)
  • CindyMarcuzAdams
    CindyMarcuzAdams Posts: 4,006 Member
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    I had weight loss surgery back in 2001 when I felt I had no other choice. My life was in turmoil. I had a husband with terminal cancer. Three young children. A full time job and the ususal bills. I was suffering with depression and anxiety from my husbsnd being sick and my oldest son being hit by a car and being badly injured. I was always overweight but gained so much more spending countless days weeks and months at hospitals. I tried every which way to lose weight but the stress were just too much to bear. I had to change my ways and felt my only quick fix option was surgery. I had a successful loss of 140lbs and kept it off for almost 10 years. Depression and anxeity reared its ugly head again and I gained 39 of the 140. I am dealing with my issues now and dealing with my diet. I have now lost 30 of the 39 on mfp and will lose the rest over the next few weeks.
    So...some people feel they have no choice. And tho I had a small blip of a gain, some surgical people dont gain it all back. There are success stories out there no matter how the weight was lost. Imho...thanks for reading
  • MelodyandBarbells
    MelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,725 Member
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    If you want something bad enough, you will achieve it, and to insinuate that a 500 lb person would need to eat 1200 calories to lose weight is just absurd.

    It is absurd. Where exactly did you read that?
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,942 Member
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    You know how people filing bankruptcy go out and start maxing out their credit cards? (Losers) Same basic concept. I would say that with few exceptions (because there are medical necessities sometimes), people don't want to put the work in.

    I actually disagree with this at least as far as a statement representing the majority.

    So we all know that creating a calorie deficit leads to fat loss and consequently it becomes very easy to say that people who aren't able to do this are simply lazy slobs who can't manage to get off the couch and put the fork down. I think that's a presumptuous stance to take.

    I would have to imagine that most people who are considering surgery to help them lose weight have already made several attempts to try to lose fat in the past but they have simply failed. Why did they fail? Because it's really freakin' difficult to do, and it's especially difficult to sustain, and weight loss statistics probably confirm this.
    I disagree with thst statement as well. There are too many variables regarding weight loss surgery and bankruptcy to make such a sweeping generalization.
  • tabicatinthehat
    tabicatinthehat Posts: 329 Member
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    Oh man I watched one the other night that completely disgusted me. It was "My 600 lb Life" on TLC and it was the episode with Penny. She had serious psychological issues and her husband was such an enabler. It made me sad and uncomfortable. This link basically explain it:

    http://tvruckus.com/2014/01/22/backlash-after-pennnys-story-on-my-600-lb-life/
  • aylajane
    aylajane Posts: 979 Member
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    I posted this on a similar thread yesterday and it seems to apply here. Honestly, people who think they have "the answer" forget what it was like before their "enlightenment".

    "Most people who have WLS do not do it as a "first attempt" at losing weight, nor think of it as an "easy" way out - it is a LAST resort after a lifetime of trying to manage it. Some probably could do it "normally" if they were educated and understood CICO etc - but look at these boards - not everyone "gets it" enough to be successful and those who do may have tried for years before figuring out how to work this. Why are you personally here if you were not overweight at some point (assuming you are on the losing weight side of this board)? How did you get overweight in the first place if this concept is so easy to grasp? Did you understand everything the day you logged on here? Did you try to lose weight ever before joining this app? Some people are still on their journey and have not gotten to that "enlightenment" phase like you have. If someone came to you before you found the "light" on the "right" way to lose weight and chastised you for trying other methods (diet pills, low carb, IF, etc) - would you have just said "Oh! I see. Why didnt someone ever tell me that?" Everything sounds right to someone who is already on board and they forget how they thought and felt before they got there. Are you saying you personally did not try ANYTHING else besides CICO to lose weight before now? Nothing? No fad diets, pills, eatin under 1200? YOu just woke up one day and decided you needed to lose weight and just *knew* the right way to do it and then did it that way?

    Look at these boards - If someone "only" 40 pounds over weight comes in here time and time again trying 1200 calories, no carbs, etc and "Falls off" the wagon over and over because they havent figured out how to make IIFYM/CICO/ etc "work" for them, why are you judging someone who did the same thing with 100 pounds and tried to find something else that worked?

    Are you also going to say that people who take supplements to enhance their workouts are taking the "easy" way out? Obviously they could get there without them, it just would take longer. Not talking about steriods but people use BCAA, fat burners, etc. all the time to enhance muscle or burn fat or increase metabolism etc. and do not think of it as the "easy" way out - but it is technically according to your definition... "Tools" are not acceptable, they are the easy way out... those supplements are tools to get you somewhere faster that you could get to without them... so ... are you upset with them too?"
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,982 Member
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    So we all know that creating a calorie deficit leads to fat loss and consequently it becomes very easy to say that people who aren't able to do this are simply lazy slobs who can't manage to get off the couch and put the fork down. I think that's a presumptuous stance to take.
    Given some of the diet products that sell and the vast amounts of misinformation that I see, I'm not sure that's the case...
  • The_Enginerd
    The_Enginerd Posts: 3,982 Member
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    Speaking from experience at my heaviest I was consuming close to 10,000 calories a day and had no problem doing that... I consumed foods very calorie dense (21 in. Pizza's, boxes (not individually wrapped) of swiss cakes, hoho's, Nutter butters, bags of chips like Doritos, tortilla chips smoothed in cheez wiz, etc, etc..... It really was not that difficult, my biggest problem at that point was guilt tripping my family or flat out verbally bashing them until they caved and gave me what I wanted.. the Last couple years getting close to my max weight I could barely get around the house, let alone leave the house.. I still managed to get to my truck on occasion and drive myself through the drive thru's when I really wanted something.... When you are in that vicious cycle of being hungry, stuffing your face til you feel like throwing up, then play the why do I do this to myself and saying I am going to change, and that only lasting til you have room in your belly to eat more so you start the cycle over again.... At that point (and I think I can speak for most) you are in a cycle that you can't see anyway out of so you refrain to the fact nothing will change and I would say alot of people view the surgery as an easy way to try and break that bond. If you can't eat all that food because your stomach is the size of an egg now then you'll just get skinny and that is that.

    You can't see past that part of it to all the changes you are going to have to make to sustain any of it... Changing your eating habits, exercising for fitness, changing your mindset towards all that you have known to date, etc, etc.... At that size the easy way out is to take the easier road (or atleast what at that time you perceive to be the easy way out.) but in my case I still had enough common sense to know that no amount of Weight Loss Surgery was going to fix what caused me to get to 560 lbs. If I could not fix what was broken in my head then there was no chance in my mind that I would ever be able to lose the weight and keep it off.... So I was totally against WLS for me as an option.. When my doctor asked me if I wanted the surgery I told him HELL NO!! I would do every thing I was asked to do by him and the dietician and whoever else but I was doing this naturally or die trying.... You really have to be in the right mindset to do this.... I don't know the statistics but I would have to say it is in the single percentages of people that can lose 200-300-400 lbs, on their own and keep it off. And for the majority of those people the WLS in the beginning probably looks like the easier option... Little do they know it is NOT and is why alot of them fail because they never tackle the real reasons they got that big to begin with...

    A life long friend that had Gastric bypass and lost 200 lbs. and I followed her journey on facebook a couple years ago and was doing so good at her weightloss and exercise had been distant the last year and I had not seen much posted from her until a few weeks ago she said she was moving back home (lived in Missouri the last 10 years) and didn't give a reason why... She called me Friday (knows I am an IT.Computer nerd) and asked if I could fix her laptop and she stopped over and to my horror she has put back on all of her 200lbs, lost and I would say another 50-60lbs. on top of that.. Seeing me she lost it in the driveway, She is so ashamed of failing and seeing my success (even though she is really happy for me and my success) and when I asked her what happened she said she never fixed the mental side of the journey. She never addressed her severe depression, her childhood issues that cause her to eat to hide her problems and even though she experienced so much success in the beginning it wasn't enough... I sat in this very recliner with a loaded handgun for 3 days back in 2009, trying to think of a way to blow my brains out and not leave a mess for my family to come home too, on the 3rd day I realized that was not going to be possible, I accepted I had a major problem, and had that AHA moment and put the gun down and start working to fix the problem...

    I can tell you it was nothing short of climbing my own Mt. Everest but I went about it the right way getting to heart of my problems, working through them and taking my progress in steps and finally overcoming my weight issues... So when I say they use weight loss surgery as the easy way out I don't want you or anyone to think I mean that in the sense that it often gets taken out of context in other threads on here. I simply mean when you weigh 500+ lbs. that surgery is looked upon (atleast from my view) as a quick fix so that I would not have to put in all the effect it would take to lose 300+ lbs. but in the end there is NO EASY WAY OUT.... You will have to work your *kitten* off regardless end of story....... Best of Luck
    This is a VERY, VERY important part of them problem, and one that I don't think get's properly addressed much of the time when WLS is done. The depression and mental problems that cause someone to get up to such an extreme weight need to be properly addressed. You can alter someone's digestive system to try to make it almost impossible for them to overeat and medicate themselves with food to such an extent, but that's not treating the real problem.
  • SLLRunner
    SLLRunner Posts: 12,942 Member
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    I know this will turn into an, "I'm so awesome because I lost weight and everyone should be more like the awesomeness that is moi!" thread. I hope people who struggle and can't lose will not find this too disheartening and will take that for what it is - feeling of inadequacy cloaked in bragging, with a side of meanness.
    My goodness, are you by chance talking about yourself? After all, I see one finger pointing out but three of your fingers are pointing straight back at.....

    You. :wink: :laugh: